The Basics of Header Bidding: A Comprehensive Guide
Saturday, 03 Jun 2023 02:30 am



In the ever-evolving world of digital advertising, header bidding has emerged as a game-changer for publishers seeking to optimize their ad revenue. With its ability to increase competition among ad buyers and improve overall yield, header bidding has quickly gained popularity in the industry. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the basics of header bidding, its benefits, implementation strategies, and best practices.

  1. What is Header Bidding?

Header bidding is an advanced ad monetization technique that allows publishers to offer their ad inventory to multiple demand sources simultaneously, before making ad calls to their ad servers. Unlike the traditional waterfall model, where demand sources are prioritized, header bidding enables real-time competition among various demand partners, resulting in improved monetization and fill rates.

  1. How Does Header Bidding Work?

Header bidding operates through a JavaScript code implemented on a publisher's website header. When a user visits a webpage, the code sends bid requests to multiple demand partners, including ad exchanges, ad networks, and demand-side platforms (DSPs). These partners respond with their bids, and the highest bid is selected to display the ad, ensuring maximum revenue for the publisher.

  1. Benefits of Header Bidding:

a. Increased Competition: By allowing multiple demand partners to bid simultaneously, header bidding maximizes competition, driving up prices and ultimately increasing ad revenue for publishers.

b. Improved Fill Rates: With header bidding, publishers have access to a larger pool of demand sources, resulting in higher fill rates and reduced instances of unsold inventory.

c. Enhanced Control: Header bidding provides publishers with greater control over their ad inventory, allowing them to set floor prices, prioritize demand partners, and optimize ad placements for better user experience.

d. Reduced Latency: Unlike traditional waterfall setups, header bidding reduces latency by making bid requests in parallel, resulting in faster ad delivery and improved website performance.

  1. Implementing Header Bidding:

a. Choosing a Header Bidding Wrapper: Publishers can either build their own header bidding wrapper or opt for a third-party wrapper solution. Third-party wrappers, such as Prebid.js or Google Ad Manager, offer ease of implementation and provide access to a wide range of demand partners.

b. Integrating Demand Partners: Publishers need to establish relationships with demand partners, including ad exchanges, SSPs, and DSPs. Integrating these partners into the header bidding wrapper allows for bidding and ad serving through their platforms.

c. Setting Up Ad Units: Publishers must define their ad units, including sizes, placements, and targeting options, within the header bidding wrapper. This ensures that the bid requests are sent to the appropriate demand partners.

  1. Best Practices for Header Bidding:

a. Partner Selection: Carefully evaluate and select demand partners based on their reputation, transparency, and ability to deliver high-quality ads. Maintain a healthy balance between the number of partners and the potential impact on page load times.

b. Floor Price Optimization: Continuously analyze the performance of your demand partners and adjust floor prices accordingly to maximize revenue. Experiment with different floor price strategies to find the optimal balance between fill rates and CPMs.

c. Header Bidding Analytics: Leverage analytics tools to gain insights into header bidding performance, including bid response times, win rates, and revenue generated by different demand partners. Use these insights to optimize your header bidding setup.

d. A/B Testing: Conduct A/B tests to compare different header bidding setups, such as the number of demand partners or the placement of the header bidding code. Test and iterate to find the configuration that works best for your website and audience.


Header bidding has revolutionized the way publishers monetize their ad inventory, offering increased control, improved revenue, and better user experience. By implementing header bidding and following best practices, publishers can unlock the full potential of their ad inventory and thrive in the competitive digital advertising landscape. Stay updated on emerging trends and continue to experiment with optimizations to ensure long-term success with header bidding.